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The cult of cleanfluencers: inside Instagram's weirdly satisfying new trend.

If your fridge is anything like mine and contains little more than four-day-old spaghetti, half a bottle of pinot grigio and a jar with a lone pickle, you might want to turn away from your screen.

A small but loyal community of so-called ‘cleanfluencers’ are staking their territory on Instagram, and they’re gaining in numbers.

Their purpose? Provide pictorial evidence of meticulously organised and aspirational home spaces: laundry cupboards with intricate labelling systems, colour-coordinated kids’ shelves, and some sort of dewy decimal system of pantry arranging, apparently:

Belleabode pantry
Soothing. Image: @belleabode

It's enough to make Gwyneth sit up from her yoghurt facial and take notice.

In the UK, Essex resident Sophie Hinchcliffe has made a career out of her tidy Instagram account Mrs Hinch, amassing over 2.7 million followers and promulgating Mrs Hinch cleaning products and merchandise. Over the pond, Chicago-based 'homekeeping expert' @Cleanmama has 363 thousand acolytes on the app obeying her every cleaning commandment.

I dove down the rabbit hole of this strangely addictive trend, following hashtags and Insta Stories until I reached a subset of Australian women that seem to just really have their sh*t together.

In the hopes that basking in their wisdom might have a kind of halo effect for me, I reached out to discover how they do it (and because it's finally spring, season of cleaning, I figure it's a good time to get our collective Marie Kondo on.)

The Melbourne-based founder of the very aesthetically pleasing account @belleabode, who keeps her name off social media, tells Mamamia she got into the home organisation space way back in 2013 while pregnant with her first child.

"I was nesting and I just needed everything organised," she says.

"I got my husband to paint the whole house and rearrange it all literally days before the baby arrived."

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Belleabode laundry
Teach me your ways. Image: @belleabode

Now, with two young daughters and another baby girl on the way, she maintains order by creating designated areas for her children to do...messy things.

"They have allocated areas they are not allowed to eat in... upstairs and living spaces. They know toys are to stay on one side of the house so that helps a lot."

Confirmed: the children are not born with some sort of clean gene I clearly missed out on.

So. How do I make my pantry do the thing with the labels?

Carmen Strong, a retail manager and stylist behind the account @littlestronghome, only began on this path eight months ago when she and her husband built their dream home together. The Central Coast mum-of-two says it's ok to feel daunted by the task ahead.

"Start," she says. "It's life changing, and once you start you honestly can't stop. I'm a mum... I managed.

"My tip is to begin in the kitchen or pantry - it’s a space that gets used all the time."

 

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Unfortunately for me those who want a quick fix, there isn't one. Just like you don't get up and take a selfie of your bed-hair and panda eyes, their photogenic spaces didn't wake up like this - they're the result of hard work and the implementation of efficient systems.

The good news is you don't have to spend a fortune to get organised, Strong asserts.

"Budget and plan out each space and focus on one room at a time. You can also find some really cost effective solutions from Kmart and Ikea, or even on Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace."

Linen cupbaord
Carmen organised her linen cupboard with finds from Spotlight, Bunnings and Adairs. Image: @littlestronghome

And although the temptation might be to head to Howard's Storage World and buy a readymade solution for a bathroom cupboard that's gone feral, Belleabode warns against 'buying blindly.'

"Plan and measure," she says, "and most importantly don't purchase items that others have because they're trending. You don't need expensive containers to organise your spaces."

I might start...next weekend.

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